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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers recent history of athleticism leads them to Justin Reid

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been focusing on athleticism, and this points to a Stanford safety as their top pick in the latest mock draft.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Stanford Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

When you look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first round draft picks since 2014, you notice a trend. Fast, athletic and intelligent.

2014 — Ryan Shazier
2015 — Bud Dupree
2016 — Artie Burns
2017 — T.J. Watt

When I say these players are fast, athletic and intelligent doesn’t mean they have lived up to their first round status. Most would agree Dupree still has a lot to prove, and the verdict is certainly still out on a player like Burns.

Nonetheless, you can see a trend here for the team when it comes to their top picks, but there is another factor they have coveted — character. All of the aforementioned players, as well as guys like Cam Sutton, Joshua Dobbs, James Conner, Javon Hargrave and others are all considered high character men.

Tie these two in a knot and you have an inside look into the Steelers’ drafting strategy. Athletic, smart and a good guy which won’t give them headaches off the field. This is why it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone in the latest mock draft by Rotoworld they predict the Steelers taking Justin Reid with their first pick at No. 28:

28. Pittsburgh Steelers - S Justin Reid, Stanford

Justin Reid is receiving plenty of interest from mid- to late-first round teams. He’s super athletic, a trend for multiple first and second round picks for the Steelers in recent years.

The team need at safety remains despite their free agent addition of Morgan Burnett, and Reid and Sean Davis could be the safety tandem for the long-term future for the black-and-gold.

So, what do you think of Reid as a prospect? Is he worth a first round tab? And do you believe safety should the team’s top priority in the 2018 NFL Draft? Let us know in the comment section below!